Friday, 22 August 2014

She quit her job to become a freelance writer

"Travel has made me less materialistic, more open-minded and quicker to gain perspective", says Frankie, traveler and freelance writer, who stayed in Ljubljana in July 2014. She has shared her impressions about Ljubljana, street theatre, life as a perpetual traveler and many more. 


Could you start by giving us a little idea of who Frankie aka Bird is? What is your story?
»So, my name is Frankie and I write the blog As the Bird flies, which documents my two biggest passions, travel and writing. And yes, you can call me Bird! I'm originally from London, UK but in October 2011, aged 29, I left a full-time job, my friends and family in order to travel indefinitely with my partner who is from Australia. I changed careers to become a freelance writer so I could work from anywhere in the world (with an internet connection!) and travel has also enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. My first book, Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel, was published last year and my second book - a collection of stories about London - will be published any day now. «


What was your first travel experience? 
»I think it was to Bordeaux in France with my parents when I was still a baby. There's a photo of me lying on a picnic blanket under the trees on a sunny day, and it's funny that I still like to do that these days! «


You have traveled across many countries. Where and how did you hear about Slovenia? And why did you decide to visit our capital city Ljubljana?
»I was invited to come to Ljubljana as part of the festivals project I'm involved with, called Must Love Festivals. It's a collaborative storytelling project which sees 16 travel bloggers travel across Europe to explore and experience the more unusual and quirky festivals in cities and destinations not everyone has heard of. So, I was in Ljubljana for the Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival, but even before this I'd long wanted to go to Slovenia as I'd heard such good things from people who have travelled there. I wasn't disappointed! «


You were staying at hostel Tresor, which is housed in a former bank. Have you got any other previous experience with unique hostels that you could share with us? 
»I have a confession: I'm not really a hostel kind of girl!! I actually write more about luxury travel and design hotels, BUT I have recently learned that hostels are changing a lot and becoming more stylish and comfortable with private rooms and nice little extras. Hostel Tresor is actually a great example of this; brilliant, friendly staff, very clean bathrooms and generous breakfast included - I loved staying there! Another hostel I've stayed in recently and also loved was Bus Hostel in Reykjavik, which used to be an old bus depot. I really like how all these buildings are being reused as hostels, it gives them great character. «


Have you found your favorite spot in our green city ? And if yes, which one?
»Great question! I loved so much about Ljubljana and the views from both the castle and the top of the Skyscraper building were fantastic with the mountains in the background. I'm also a fan of cycling so I really enjoyed getting around the city on a bike and also spending some time in Tivoli park.«


Because you have experienced Ana Desetnica festival, which is the largest festival of street theatre and what do you think about street theatre? Have you found any other interesting form of art in Ljubljana?
»Ana Desetnica really got me thinking about theatre and about how it creates much more of a connection with an audience than other art forms. And seeing performances on the street only enhanced this. It was hard to believe that Ana Desetnica is completely free for people to enjoy for four whole days. Due to the festival I didn't have much time to go to any museums but I did see the photography exhibition on in Tivoli Park and I was also really lucky to enjoy some performances at other festivals going on in the city. We watched the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra in Congress Square and I was very fortunate to get a last minute ticket to see Gregory Porter as part of Ljubljana Jazz Festival. I couldn't believe how many different festivals and events were happening during my 3 day stay! «


Which mode of transport have you found as easiest to discover Ljubljana? 
»As I said, I loved cycling in Ljubljana (I hired a bike for the day from the Tourist Information) because I love cycling cities; I'm currently living in Amsterdam. I also really liked walking around the city. Because it's so small you can cover a lot of ground and see a lot of different things in a short period of time. «


What are your future travel plans?
»I've just returned from Lisbon, where I was on a holiday with friends. Now I have a few weeks back in Amsterdam finishing my second book before I'm off to Croatia for a week sailing. I find the Dalmatian coast so beautiful - and Croatia is similar to Slovenia in some ways! - So I'm very excited, but I'm also a little anxious as I get very travel sick. We shall see what happens! «

What advice would you give newbie travelers?
»Wow, there's so much advice but really the essential thing is to travel with an open mind. If you do you will not only learn as much as possible but you will also be ready for the unexpected... and more likely to enjoy it when it happens! «


How do you think travel has affected you as a person? Did your life philosophy change once you started traveling?
»Travel has made me less materialistic, more open-minded and quicker to gain perspective when I'm having a bad day. Long-term travel has also boosted my confidence. I never imagined I was someone who could live without personal belongings or a home base, and I'd sort of accepted that I'd never fulfill my dream of writing a book, but travelling for a long time and doing without things that I took for granted, has made me understand that I'm capable of a lot if I just put my mind to it. Thank you travel! «

She wrote a short story after her stay ow.ly/ABitP, inspired by Ljubljana and Hostel Tresor.
She has captured the atmosphere of Ana Desetnica in photos: ow.ly/ABiwe.    
You can follow her Blog: www.fmthompson.com/a23fh1e4

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